Pastoral message from ELCA Conference of Bishops regarding “Vision and Expectations”

Approved by the ELCA Church Council in 1990, Vision and Expectations has, through several revisions, outlined this church’s standards for its rostered ministers since that time. As a Conference of Bishops, we recognize and acknowledge that its application has been uneven and inequitable. We express our profound grief and deep regret for the times when Vision and Expectations has been misused to single out, marginalize, and block people seeking to be leaders in this church when their peers were not always held to the same vision and expectations. This has caused considerable pain that has disproportionately been borne by those who have been historically marginalized or excluded from leadership in the church because of their gender, sexuality, race, or status. We apologize to those whose treatment under this document has made them feel targeted and less than the beloved children of God that they are.

The Conference of Bishops affirms the appropriateness of expectations and standards as means of protecting the people of God and providing accountability for the power that church leaders hold. Serving as a rostered minister in the ELCA is a privilege. Those aspiring to and serving in such a public office are expected to conform to the standards set by the church for such leaders.

We aspire and pledge in the future to apply the church’s standards for ministry with equity and compassion, to listen and take seriously the concerns of all our leaders—particularly those who historically have been marginalized—and to treat with dignity all those seeking to lead in our church.

This is Christ’s Church. There is a place for you here.

We are the church that shares a living, daring confidence in God’s grace. Liberated by our faith, we embrace you as a whole person–questions, complexities and all. Join us as we do God’s work in Christ’s name for the life of the world.

Contact Information

ELCA South Carolina Synod
1003 Richland Street
Columbia, SC 29201
Telephone 803-765-0590
Fax 803-252-5558

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